Lacoste/Keane Gallery is proud to close our 2019 season with an all-female exhibition Breaking The Ceiling: Japanese Women in Clay, from December 7 to 28, 2019. Exhibiting artists include Ikuko Ando, Eri Dewa, Kiyoko Morioka, Aya Murata and Hiroko Nakazato who are all exhibiting in the USA for the first time.
This exhibition explores the exciting careers of Japanese women in the field of ceramics, inspired by two important past exhibitions; ‘Soaring Voices’ (2009 – 2012) which traveled to 10 locations in the USA, and ‘Touch Fire’ (2009) at the Smith College, Northampton MA. The artists in this exhibition showcase the best of the next generation. As Maya Nishi guest curator points out in her essay, “the women artists of the present generation proceed steadily with a greater flexibility, lack of tension, and relaxed manner.“ Their works break away from ceramic tradition, making a strong point for future waves of women to express freely in their chosen field.
In conjunction with the opening of this exhibition, there will be a public reception at our gallery on Saturday December 7, 3:00 – 5:00 pm and an Artist Talk on Sunday December 8, 2:00pm which will be held at Ransome Room, Concord Academy. Louise Cort, former Curator of Ceramics at The Smithsonian will be moderating the Talk on Sunday. Artists in attendance will be Ikuko Ando, Eri Dewa, Kiyoko Morioka and Hiroko Nakazato.
Essay by Maya Nishi and Louise Cort
At the beginning
Within the traditional world of ceramics in Japan lies a history of the various prohibitions women have encountered. At the same time, the truth of the essential roles women played within the world of traditional Japanese ceramics—said to be a society of men—when that world centered in households making pottery is becoming widely recognized.
Beginning in the 1950s, pioneer women artists began to assert their places within the flow of contemporary ceramics. Araki Takako (1921–2004), Mishima Kimiyo (1932–), Tsuboi Asuka (1932–) and others opened the way by pursuing their thirst to create and their undaunted determination to carry on.
Freely and flexibly
Those women of the pioneer generation and the women makers of a younger generation share in common a gentle spirit, free expression, and superb technique. Yet one major change is apparent. Compared to the women of the pioneer generation, with their “undaunted determination” essential to the task of escaping limitations and opening a place for their expression within the intensely male society of ceramics, the women artists of the present generation proceed steadily with a greater flexibility, lack of tension, and relaxed manner.
Nature and women artists
This exhibition introduces five women ceramic artists who continue on the path opened by the pioneers and are recognized at the forefront of their generation. They share a focus on drawing inspiration from the natural world and incorporating it in their work. They also draw upon exceptional technical skill and refined spirit to realize their generous and distinctive forms and surfaces.